Harrow Borough FC is a non-league football club from the north west boundary of London. They were formed in 1933 as Roxonian FC playing local league football at Northolt Road, before moving to Earlsmead and the Spartan League a year later.
In 1939 the club changed its name to Harrow Town with a move into the Delphanian League coming in 1958 following a promotion. They remained there until the league disbanded in 1964 when they became members of the Athenian League.
Boro had many escapes from relegation over the years earning them the nickname of Houdini Borough! The club did lift some local trophies and in 2004 they missed out on a place in Conference South after losing the play off final on penalty kicks.
Boro introduced a youth side to the club in 2009. David Howell who managed Boro from 2003 left the club in 2011 to take the same job at St Albans City. He was replaced by the experienced Dave Anderson who rebuilt the side from scratch.
After several seasons at the helm Anderson moved on early in 2015 with the side looking favourites for relegation. However, Steve Baker came in and oversaw a magnificent recovery to lead Borough to safety on the final day of the 2014-15 campaign.
Harrow Borough will play in the Isthmian League Premier Division for the 2016-17 season.
Sunday 15th January 1984
I was at college at Boreham Wood and visiting non league clubs fascinated me. It was in the fairly early days of finding out about clubs far and wide. A few seasons earlier my Dad had bought me one of the first ever non league annuals, which turned out to be one of my most valuable gifts.
New clubs and leagues came to my attention. My geography of the UK improved instantly and I was captivated by some of the capacities of stadiums which seemed massive to me at the time.
Now at college I had been to a few matches when finances allowed but to be honest, my course was not going well and I'd just about resigned myself to pulling out later that year. I decided that it would be a good idea to travel round and visit a few grounds when I had the chance. I didn't envisage living in London fifteen years later!
I got a bus map and started planning my journey. I didn't realise a one day travelcard existed covering tubes and buses to cover the places I wanted to visit, so I paid for each individual journey sticking purely to buses. Indeed I ended up walking two miles back to my digs after my cash ran out.
It was a clear and frosty morning when I set out for Earlsmead. It took two buses to get to my destination but fortunately the ground was open on my arrival.
It looked a nice enough venue. I entered the ground in the north east corner. The goal at my end had a narrow open terrace with the large clubhouse and changing rooms building behind it. The facility had been built after the land sale in 1967. The players entered the pitch from behind the goal. The far touchline had a small covered standing area which was erected in 1947. Alongside it was the quaintest of seated stands. It was called the Champniss Stand after the club president who had originally given the club the land for their ground. It was like a small pavilion and had seats for 250 people. The rest of that side and behind the far goal consisted of a few steps of open terracing. This continued along the fourth side where a long low cover sheltered fans from the elements.
I took my photos before walking back to the main Northolt Road to wait for my next bus towards the next club on my agenda; Hayes FC. Incredibly I stood by the bus stop when a car stopped. A mate from college, QPR fan Steve Austin was driving down to Heathrow to collect a relative. When I told him what I was doing he drove me to the top of Church Road, saving me time and money.
I was immediately getting to like this groundhopping business!
Midweek League Cup match around 2000
It was winter time and I was now working at Lord's Cricket Ground in London. I had been going to a few different matches and I'd struck up a friendship with a colleague and media man Stuart Wetherhead. He also had interest in non league football.
I arranged to go to a cup game at Earlsmead Stadium as it was now grandly called, and meet up with Stuart. I got there a bit early and enjoyed a couple of pints in the decent clubhouse.
We went out to watch the game. I cannot remember Boro's opponents on the night, but the crowd was between 150 and 200. It was a coldish night and if my memory serves me right, Boro won two nil.
By now the Champniss Stand had gone owing to the strict health and safety laws to be replaced by a slightly larger but characterless new seated stand. The rest of the ground was how I remembered.
Stuart kindly gave me a lift back up to Harrow on the Hill station so my journey home took very little time.
Friday 20th October 2006
The ground was as I remembered from my previous visit.
Harrow Borough 0 Wealdstone 0 (Wednesday 11th April 2012) Isthmian League Premier Division (att: 617)
I had just come back a couple of days previously from a wonderful two week holiday in Thailand. On my return I bought my Non League Paper and discovered that the local derby had been put back as Wealdstone had been involved in the Middlesex Senior Cup Final on Easter Monday, when the league game had originally being designated a slot.
Paul picked me up from Rayners Lane station around 6pm, from where we headed straight to the ground. A large crowd was anticipated and I wanted to ensure I managed to buy a programme. I also fancied a couple of beers!
We arrived and went straight into the clubhouse. I had a bit of a soft spot for The Stones so I wanted them to win the game so they could reach the play offs. I tweeted them to let them know they would be getting support from a Scarborough Athletic fan. I made sure I had my club jacket on as I do at a lot of games. It can be a conversation piece and I've met many good football people through it. I ordered the beers when a gent approached me.
'Did you use to work at Lord's?' he asked. I said I did, hoping it wasn't a late complaint coming in! 'Do you now work on the Underground?' Again I answered in the affirmative. I wondered what was coming next until he revealed all. He worked with John Cards, a good mate of mine who follows QPR with his brother Jeff. His name was Tony Venus and he was a Harrow fan and assisted on match days. He said that he thought it must have been me when he saw my jacket. Apparently I've been discussed by other football fans at work!
The Stones had several games in hand of their rivals because of their superb FA Trophy run which took them all the way to the semi finals. Ideally they needed a win to boost any chance of promotion via the play offs. However, a local derby with Borough was always going to be difficult.
Harrow, near the wrong end of the division, defended well as a unit and had a few opportunities of their own. Ashlee Jones the Stones keeper on loan from Braintree was having the most shaky of starts and nearly gifted a goal on a couple of occasions. At the other end Richard Jolly was being frustrated as he tried to add to his impressive goal tally to please the large away following of at least 450.
Chances were few and far between as half time came and went. Borough's Garry Jones let fly with a fierce twenty five yarder which produced a top class save from Jones, who gathered confidence as the game went on. The Stones had the majority of the ball in the home sides half, but they could not create a clear cut chance as the game drifted towards and eventually ended goalless.
Paul dropped me at North Harrow station and I was home at just gone 11pm to catch up with a dramatic evening's football in which Wigan had defeated Man Utd. I was still glad I'd made the effort to go to a game in good company rather than watching one on Sky.
Their side did them proud despite the final score, as they created several chances. It was the more experienced side that went through thanks to goals from Marc Charles-Smith and Francis Babalola before the break. Luke Williams had to pull off some saves in the home goal.